Far and away the most spun disc of the year at WNMC. Young guitar phenom, Billy Strings meets veteran mandolinist and improviser Don Julin. It’s a great match. Billy is a pretty damn good lead vocal, and surprise of suprises, Don more than holds his own on the harmony parts. "... A few originals, a few classic instrumentals and some good ol' bluegrass songs that have stood the test of time." –elderly.com
Coming off the huge success of her first collaboration with Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy the Grammy winning You Are Not Alone Mavis Staples wanted to make their second album together both a continuation of the joyous spirit of the first, and an evolution. With new song offerings from Alan Sparhawk of Low, Nick Lowe, and three Tweedy originals, One True Vine is at once a darker and more uplifting album, anchored by reinventions of two 70s classics Funkadelic s "Can You Get to That?" and the Staples Singer s "I Like the Things About Me. "
The album received almost universal praise . . . it's darker than previous releases, and, well, it conforms more to the rock audience's expectations. If you think of VW as rock's new auteurs (a la Radiohead), then this is good. If you are tired of rock auteurs and would like someone to drive an oaken stake into that concept's heart, then this is a bit of a disappointment. "Modern Vampires of the City is Vampire Weekend's third album, and it is a bustling world of voices and visions from the death of Henry Hudson to the Orthodox girl falling in love at an uptown falafel shop, from Hannah Hunt tearing up the New York Times on a distant beach to the lethal chandelier of "Everlasting Arms," from the ardent yearning of "Don't Lie" to the harmonized voice of hope in "Young Lion". Modern Vampires of the City has a grandeur and romanticism evocative of the city where it was conceived." Rolling Stone
Reflektor, the collective's much anticipated fourth long-player and first double-album, moves the group even further from pop culture sanctification with a seismic 13-track set that guts the building but leaves the roof intact. Going big was never going to be a problem, especially for a band so well versed in the art of anthem husbandry, and they're still capable of shaking the rafters, as evidenced by the cool and circuitous, Roxy Music-forged, David Bowie-assisted title cut, the lush, Regine Chassagne-led “It's Never Over (Oh Orpheus),” and the impossibly dense and meaty “We Exist."
Red Tail Ring is the musical brainchild of two old-time-minded Michiganders – Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. The collaboration blends the loving attention of revivalist fervor with the playful creativity of starting from scratch. Whether rendering a traditional tune or one of their many original compositions, the duo infuses each song with musical imagination, haunting harmonies and instrumental artistry on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, jawharp, and plain-old foot stomping. "We love pushing the boundaries of what a traditional song can be," says Beauchamp. "It informs how we write our original songs. There's a real energy exchange between the old and the new." –redtailring.org
In 1961, trumpeter Buck Clayton was in Belgium on tour with his All Stars—Emmett Berry trumpet, Earle Warren alto sax, Buddy Tate tenor sax, Sir Charles Thompson piano, Gene Ramey bass and Oliver Jackson drums.
The bearded, ebulliant inspiration for the Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis deserves a revival, writes Robin Denselow. The Coen brothers film Inside Llewyn Davis was inspired by the story of Dave Van Ronk, but the soundtrack album has only one track from the ebullient , bearded guitarist and singer who was a key figure on the New York folk scene for more than four decades, until his death in 2002. Van Ronk played blues, traditional songs and his own material, and was at his best heard live, as shown by this 54-song set.
Pulaski is a city in both western Virginia and south-central Tennessee, and yet, in the one song with lyrics on Andrew Bird’s new EP, he’s begging an anonymous someone to come back to Chicago. Given that signpost, Bird’s mostly likely referring to Pulaski Park on the west side of town, but place doesn’t necessarily matter on I Want to See Pulaski at Night. Because on his new EP, the prolific, fiddle-touting, whistling Bird creates a cinematic musical experience that opens itself to both individual interpretation and universal experience.
In 1962, Nancy Wilson was still being positioned by Capitol Records as a jazz-pop singer. In the years after she signed with the label in 1959, her first five albums were examples of this hybrid: Like in Love, with Willie Smith on alto sax, Something Wonderful (1960) with Ben Webster on tenor sax, The Swingin's Mutual (1961) with the George Shearing Quintet, Nancy Wilson and Cannonball Adderley (1962) and Hello Young Lovers (1962). Nancy's pure pop breakout would come in 1963, with Broadway, My Way.
All About Jazz is celebrating June Christy's birthday today!
June was born as Shirley Luster on November 20, 1925 at the Memorial Hospital in Springfield, Illinois and was raised from the age of three in Decatur, Illinois; and from the beginning always wanted to sing. She was singing with local bands when she was just 13, and later with society bands around Chicago, the big city 150 miles from Springfield, using the name Sharon Leslie. None of her family knew anything about music...
Cadillac native & original Earthwork artist, Luke moved to New Orleans about a decade ago and his music now reflects both that Earthwork background, and the music scene in New Orleans (he worked with John Boutte among many others). This is a great album. Full stop. "Though the New Orleans singer-songwriter is just 29, he blends jazz and blues from bygone eras with such immediacy that I can easily imagine him unstuck in time, traveling back to the heydays of ragtime, prewar gospel, and Delta blues. Winslow-King remains faithful to the hearts of these old styles even as he splices their genomes." --Chicago Reader
WNMC's #1 Rock disc of 2013! Evil Friends is the seventh full length album by the Alaskan rock band Portugal. The Man. It is also Portugal's first collaboration with producer Danger Mouse. "It took me maybe four or five good listens before Evil Friends stopped setting off my claustrophobia. Even with prolonged exposure, Evil Friends' ever-present busyness can be overwhelming; there's a lot-- and sometimes too much-- going on here. Still, even when their ambitions outpace their execution, Portugal deserve their props for continuing to overshoot the mark. Seven albums in, with a seemingly permanent mid-day slot at almost every decent-sized festival on either side of the pond and a big-name producer on their side, Portugal. The Man could've easily spent Evil Friends shedding complexities and doubling down on catchiness. The frequently overstuffed, occasionally scatterbrained album is far from perfect. But even when going for broke gets them into trouble, Portugal seem happy to get up there and overshoot the mark." nme.com.
Bluegrass, Brazilian forro and Brooklyn experimentalism. And that's just for starters! One of my (Eric Hines) very favorite releases of 2013, and they are coming to NMC on the last day of January, Needless to say, I am giddy. No kidding.
Matuto is emerging internationally as a festival main-stage sensation. Rolling drums and quicksilver accordion licks, earthy vibes and thoughtful reflections mingle on the latest refinement of their Appalachia-gone-Afro-Brazilian sound, “The Devil and The Diamond” (Motema Music; release: May 14, 2013). http://matutomusic.com/
“organissimo returns to the studio with a stunning collection of soul jazz for modern ears. Loaded with greasy grooves, funky swirling Hammond organ, and gutsy guitar, Dedicated expands on the organissimo sound with new textures and a bold new focus. The spotlight is on groove and Dedicated delivers.” http://www.big-o-records.com
The old-timey train that chugs out of this station makes some curiously infectious stops, with rollicking New Orleans horns, back-porch rootsiness, Tom Waits-style storytelling and even a Latin-flavored detour. This eclectic five-piece Kalamazoo string band has churned out its finest album yet at La Luna Recording & Sound (Ian Gorman is the mastering engineer), with harmony- and fiddle-hued tales of riverboat gamblers, crooked trails, June bugs, digging graves and crying "when you're daddy's gone." - John Sinkevics, Grand Rapids Revue
Bill Evans has shared some photos from his recent California Banjo Extravaganza. For the second year in a row, he brought a pair of prominent banjo pickers out west for a weekend of shows and workshops in northern California.
Tools for finding out more about the early 1960s Greenwich Village folk scene recreated in the Coen brothers film, “Inside Llewyn Davis.”“Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coen brothers film set among Greenwich Village musicians in the early 1960s, is poised to generate a tidal wave of nostalgia — and stir interest among moviegoers who were unfamiliar with this milieu. It’s a safe bet that anyone who sees the film (opening next Friday) will want to know more about the folkie world that the Coens recreate so wittily and well. There are great ways to read, see and hear more about it.
His airy, effortless style, with its emphasis on lightly accompanied right-hand melody, was a key element in the transition from swing to bebop, and many modern jazz pianists took Wilson\'s approach as their starting point.
On this day in music history: November 20, 1955 - R&B legend Bo Diddley makes his one and only appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan will request that Diddley perform the song “Sixteen Tons’,...
Richard Williams on a pungent life of the jazz saxophonist, told from a black perspective. Anyone intending to write a proper biography of Charlie Parker must eventually get to grips with the nature of genius itself. Very late in this, the first of two long-awaited volumes on the life of the great modern jazzsaxophonist, Stanley Crouch comes close to the matter during a conversation with William "Biddy" Fleet, an obscure guitarist with whom Parker shared experiments in music after his arrival in New York in 1938, while still in his teens and groping his way towards his own style and a new conception of what jazz might become. "The thing I loved about Bird (Parker)," Fleet tells the author, "is this: he wasn't one of those who's got to write something down, go home, study on it, and the next time we meet, we'll try it out. Anything anyone did that Bird liked, when he found out what it was, he'd do it right away. Instantly. Only once on everything."